Sikorsky workers represented by the Teamsters union overwhelmingly voted to back Connecticut’s roughly $220 million incentive package to keep the Lockheed Martin unit in the state manufacturing helicopters.
Connecticut state legislators approved the deal at the end of September. But it required concurrence from the union. More than 93% of 2,244 members of Teamsters Local 1150 union, which represents Sikorsky workers in Connecticut and Florida, voted Oct. 9 to approve contract changes called for in the deal, which would keep production of U.S. Marine Corps CH-53Ks at the company’s Stratford plant.
In return for supplying secure jobs, Sikorsky under the changes would impose a two-tier wage scale for new employees, an alternate work week and pension plan changes. Each Sikorsky employee on payroll will receive a $1,500 ratification bonus for the vote.
Most of the changes ushered in by this agreement will affect only Sikorsky employees who started after June 30, 2017. They include a 25% reduction in hourly rates, an alternate work week of three 12-hour days (with workers paid for 40 hours) and automatic company pension contributions and supplemental contributions.
Stratford is now positioned to produce nearly 200 Ch-53Ks, or “King Stallions,” for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. This heavy-lift helicopter is the successor to the CH-53E and will be the second-largest heavyweight in the world, next to Russian Helicopters’ Mi-26.
Stratford, Connecticut, is still where Sikorsky headquarters are located — even after becoming a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corp., which became United Technologies Corp., and after it was acquired by Lockheed Martin in 2015.